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Mineral Ridge’s Ava Hulett hurdles to state track podium

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes Mineral Ridge's Ava Hulett (middle) competes in the Division III 100m hurdles trial at the state meet earlier this month in Dayton. She'd later place in the 300m hurdles finals.

DAYTON — After falling short of a podium placing in her first two appearances at the OHSAA state track meet, Mineral Ridge’s Ava Hulett arrived in Dayton earlier this month to run both the 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles events, a physically and mentally exhausting task.

As a freshman and sophomore, Hulett could completely focus on the 100-meter hurdles, an event in which she finished 15th in 2022 and 10th in 2023. But by qualifying for the 300-meter hurdles, Hulett gave herself more work to do, as well as another shot at the podium.

“”There’s definitely been a lot of ups and downs, but you learn to just push through,” Hulett said of juggling the events. “My team really motivates me, and my coach has helped me so much this year, just pushing to keep my endurance throughout the whole race.”

Fortunately, running the additional event paid off; after failing to qualify for the 100-meter hurdles finals with a 12th-place finish, Hulett earned a spot in the 300-meter hurdles finals, in which she placed seventh. Hulett improved on her 300-meter hurdles preliminary time by more than a third of a second, finishing with a time of 46.48 seconds.

After receiving her first state track medal, Hulett admitted running both hurdle events can be mentally challenging.

“Track is definitely a mental game,” Hulett said. “You don’t want to think about it too much, but you also want to make sure you’re prepared enough.”

Hulett said that while she is always preparing for track season, she uses other sports — she plays volleyball in the fall and basketball in the winter — to stay near her athletic peak while keeping her mind off of it.

“I pretty much train for track all year round,” Hulett said. “But definitely having those sports, it’s hard to find the time sometimes, but it definitely keeps me in shape. It’s nice to change up what I’m doing so I’m not just getting burnt out from one sport.”

As a senior, Hulett is determined to return to the state meet for a fourth consecutive year and improve on her performance from this season.

Specifically, Hulett has set goals for herself to “be at the top of the podium” in the 100-meter hurdles, an event in which she wants to run under 15 seconds. Hulett, whose 100-meter hurdles personal record is 15.04, will also try to best her 300-meter hurdles PR of 45.85 in her final year at Mineral Ridge.

Have an interesting story? Contact Preston Byers by email at pbyers@tribtoday.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @PresByers.

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